How Do Cats Urinate?

By Rena Sherwood


Newborn kittens cannot urinate by themselves. Not urinating can conceivably kill them. The mother cat needs to stimulate the bladder by licking the newborn kitten's genital area. If the kitten is orphaned, then a cotton ball or warm old towel gently rubbed over the genital area will make the kitten urinate and defecate. This is done every time the kitten is given a feeding. The urine will be clear like water or will be pale yellow. According to Race Foster, DVM, kittens can urinate on their own by the time they are three weeks old.

Normal Urination

From three-week-old kittens to old age, cats normally urinate in basically the same way for males and for females. They squat, spread their hind legs so the paws are pointing in opposite direction, lift the tail and release the urine downwards. The tail is usually held still, but may be lifted higher during the urination. Cats prefer to urinate in absorbent material such as sand or loose earth. Kitty litter mimics this material and so cats can be easily trained to use a litter pan. The cat normally urinates without making a sound. If the cat cries out while urinating, he could have a bladder infection or stones and needs to see a vet.


Spraying is an action where urine is used a scent marker in order to leave messages to other cats. It may also be used as messages to humans in an attempt to communicate but this has not been proven. The majority of cats who spray are unaltered males, but all adult cats can spray, including females. The adult stands, lifts the tail high and backs the tail up to where he or she wants to spray. A few drops are deposited. The tail often quivers during this act and the cat often turns around to smell that the area is appropriately marked.